Wednesday, August 20, 2008

JAPAN - Toshogu Yomeimon (Nikko City)

JAPAN stamps

Location of NIKKO in JAPAN

Nikkō Tōshō-gū (日光東照宮) is a Shinto shrine located in Nikkō, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. It is part of the "Shrines and Temples of Nikkō", a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tōshō-gū is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Initially built in 1617, during the Edo period, while Ieyasu's son Hidetada was shogun, it was enlarged during the time of the third shogun, Iemitsu. Ieyasu is enshrined here, and his remains are entombed here.

UNESCO World Heritage Site :

Date of inscription : 1999

JAPAN : Tochigi Prefecture

The shrines and temples of Nikko, together with their natural surroundings, have for centuries been a sacred site known for its architectural and decorative masterpieces. They are closely associated with the history of the Tokugawa Shoguns.


Postcard sent by Satomi
Private swap - Reference JP001

Toshogu Yomeimon (Japan, Nikko City)
One of the most magnificient structure in Japan

Friday, July 25, 2008

ITALY - Rome, Forum Romanum at dawn

ITALY stamps

Location of ROME in ITALY

The Forum was the public space in the middle of a Roman city.

A gathering place of great social significance, it was often the scene of diverse activities, including political discussions, meetings, et cetera.

Modelled on the Roman Forum in Rome itself, several smaller or more specialised forums appeared throughout Rome’s archaic history. By the time of the late Republic expansions and refurbishing of the forums of the city had inspired Pompeii Magnus to create the Theatre of Pompey in 55 BC. The Theatre included a massive forum behind the theatre arcades known as the Poticus Pompius. The structure was the forbearer to Julius Caesar's first Imperial forum and the rest to follow. Major forums are to be found in Italy, however are not to be confused with the piazza of the modern town. While similar in use and function, most were created in the Middle Ages and are often not a part of the original city footprint. Forums were a regular part of every Roman province in the Republic and the Empire.

UNESCO World Heritage Site :

Historic Centre of Rome,
the Properties of the Holy See in that City
Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura

Date of inscription : 1980

UNESCO brief description :

Founded, according to legend, by Romulus and Remus in 753 BC, Rome was first the centre of the Roman Republic, then of the Roman Empire, and it became the capital of the Christian world in the 4th century. The World Heritage site, extended in 1990 to the walls of Urban VIII, includes some of the major monuments of antiquity such as the Forums, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Pantheon, Trajan’s Column and the Column of Marcus Aurelius, as well as the religious and public buildings of papal Rome.


Postcard sent by Francesca, as "chicca"
Private swap - Reference IT001

Roma, Forum Romanum at dawn
Photograph by Giancarlo Gasponi


Sunday, July 20, 2008


Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List


  • 18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta with the Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex (1997)
  • Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy (2003)
  • Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia (1998)
  • Archaeological Area of Agrigento (1997)
  • Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata (1997)
  • Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites (2000)
  • Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua (1997)
  • Castel del Monte (1996)
  • Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena (1997)
  • Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci (1980)
  • Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula (1998)
  • City of Verona (2000)
  • City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto (1994)
  • Costiera Amalfitana (1997)
  • Crespi d'Adda (1995)
  • Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna (1996)
  • Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia (2004)
  • Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta (1995)
  • Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli (2006)
  • Historic Centre of Florence (1982)
  • Historic Centre of Naples (1995)
  • Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura (1980)
  • Historic Centre of San Gimignano (1990)
  • Historic Centre of Siena (1995)
  • Historic Centre of the City of Pienza (1996)
  • Historic Centre of Urbino (1998)
  • Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily) (2002)
  • Mantua and Sabbioneta (2008)
  • Piazza del Duomo, Pisa (1987)
  • Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto) (1997)
  • Residences of the Royal House of Savoy (1997)
  • Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes (2008)
  • Rock Drawings in Valcamonica (1979)
  • Su Nuraxi di Barumini (1997)
  • Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica (2005)
  • The Trulli of Alberobello (1996)
  • The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera (1993)
  • Val d'Orcia (2004)
  • Venice and its Lagoon (1987)
  • Villa Adriana (Tivoli) (1999)
  • Villa d'Este, Tivoli (2001)
  • Villa Romana del Casale (1997)


  • Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) (2000)
  • The Dolomites (2009)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

GERMANY - Berlin Cathedral

Location of BERLIN in GERMANY

Berlin Cathedral (German: Berliner Dom) is the colloquial name for the EvangelicalOberpfarr- und Domkirche (English analogously: Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church, literally Supreme Parish and Cathedral Church) in Berlin, Germany. It is the parish church of the Evangelical congregation Gemeinde der Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin, a member of the umbrella organisation Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia. Its present building is located on Museum Island in the Mitte borough.

The Berlin Cathedral had never been a cathedral in the actual sense of that term, since Berlin, let alone this Cathedral, had never been the seat of a Catholic bishop. When in 1930 the Holy See for the first time established a Catholic diocese of Berlin, the Berlin Cathedral had long been a Protestant church. St. Hedwig's Cathedral serves as seat of Berlin's Metropolitan bishop. Function and title of bishop, as used in the Evangelical Church in Berlin-BrandenburgSt. Mary's Church, Berlin, being the bishop's domicile church with Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
(under this name 1945-2003), comprise the Protestant bishop's regular preaching in being the second seat.


Postcard sent by Rainer Theodor
Postcrossing - Reference DE-185221

Berlin Cathedral, in the background the Old National Gallery,
to the right the Spree (aerial photograph)


Thursday, June 5, 2008

AUTRALIA - Iconic wildlife

Australia location

Australia flag

Australia stamp

Red Kangaroo
The red kangaroo is Australia's largest kangaroo of the nearly 60 species in the kangaroo family It is the Kangaroo which dwells in our "Red Center" the arid portion of Australia. They normally move in groups ranging from a few dozen to several hundred individuals. and are known as Mobs . The makeup of the red kangaroo Mob varies but usually consists of a dominant male, a number of adult females, and juveniles of both sexes.

The shy Platypus is found only in eastern Australia, where they live on the edges of rivers and freshwater lakes where burrows can be dug.
The best streams are ones where the banks are strong enough for building their deep burrows, and often these banks overhang the river. During the day, a Platypus often rests in this burrow, but it may spend some hours near the entrance to the burrow, basking in the sun and grooming its dense fur. But Platypuses (or platypi) are most active for several hours after dusk and before dawn.
Platypuses are renound for their excellence in the water as both a diver and swimmer.

Koalas are found in South Eastern Australia and has been described as an "ash coloured pouched bear". But they are not a bear they are a mammal ( meaning they feed their young on Milk) and are a Marsupial (meaning they carry their developing young mostly in a pouch) The name koala, comes from the Aboriginal saying that means "no drink". The Koala obtains enough moisture from the eucalypt leaves that it lives on.

Common wombat
Vombatus ursinus as its name suggests is the most commonly found wombat.
It is distinguishably from its cousins the Southern, and Northern Hairy nosed wombats mainly by its nose which is "naked", smaller ears and a more rounded head and longer fur due to its living in a colder part of Australia.

Eastern Pygmy-possum
The Pygmy Possum is a Marsupial
Being Nocturnal the Pygmy Possum rests by day in a spherical nest of shredded bark in a small tree -hole or under the loose bark of a tree, often in holes to small for other types of possums.
At night it is very agile, using its grasping claws and tail to climb.
The Eastern Pygmy Possum is wary and scurries about in quick jerky movements.
In winter, when food is scarce, the Pygmy Possum conserves energy by becoming torpid for much of the day.

Short-beaked Echidna
The Echidna found in Australia is the Short-beaked Echidna and along with the Platypus are the only members of the monotreme family which are Mammals that lay eggs and produces milk for its young.
Echidnas (pronounced "E-kid-na") sometimes referred to as Spiny Anteaters resemble the Hedgehog and the Porcupine in that they are covered by sharp spines. The Echidna is found all over Australia and can survive a range of temperatures and habitats Though mostly nocturnal, in mild weather they can be seen during the day, but if the weather is extreme (either very cold or hot) Echidnas will stay in shelter. (under rocks, fallen timber or burying themselves in the ground).

Orange-eyed Tree-Frog
This extremely beautiful frog is found in Eastern Australia
Blue Mountains TREE FROG is 4.4 to 6.3 centermeters long, medium to light brown above with dark flecks, and white underneath (belly).
Distinctive marks includes
1) a dark stripe + a thinner lighter stripe along the frogs side,
2) Bright green patches found on head as well as arms and leg
3) Bright red & orange marks around arms and legs

Tree Frogs are strong jumpers and despite their toes being only half webbed they are strong swimmers.


Postcard sent by Glenda, as "sash" - Postcrossing - Reference AU-21635

Australia abounds with iconic wildlife.
Clockwise from top left : Red Kangaroo ; Platypus ; Koalas ; Common Wombat ; Eastern Pygmy-possum ; Short-beaked Echidna ; Orange-eyed Tree-Frog.